Dont stress about us in SA – a letter that just made my Monday morning

So Paul Harris, founder of First Rand sent this mail to a concerned friend:

Hi Jeff

Hope all is well with you guys. I will drop you a line later with the family news but I would first like to respond to the e-mail you sent me attaching an article by Clem Sunter, which seemed to concern you about us here in South Africa.

You also sent me an article last year by Moeletsi Mbeki warning about the danger of an “Arab Spring” in South Africa. I often get e-mails like this from “concerned friends” worried about us, which is sweet of you guys. Of course we are concerned. Some worrying things have happened but we have been through and survived much worse in much more volatile environments. Including the Boer War, two World Wars, apartheid, the financial crisis without a bank bailout, the Rindapest, Ge Korsten and Die Antwoord!

However, for as long as I can remember there have always been people who think SA has five years left before we go over the cliff. No change from when I was at school in the sixties. The five years went down to a few months at times in the eighties!

But it seems the people who are the most worried live far from the cliff in places like Toronto, Auckland, London and other wet and cold places. Also from St Ives and Rose Bay in Sydney, Dallas and Europe and other “safe places” that are in the grip of the global financial crisis, which by the way is quite scary. Many of them have survived decades of rolling “five years left” since they left South Africa. So maybe they will be right one day!

My message is, please don’t stress about us in South Africa. We are fine. We are cool. We know we live in the most beautiful country in the world with warm and vibrant people. There are more people here with smiles on their faces than in any country I have ever been to.

Young people are returning in droves with skills and a positive attitude. Collectively we bumble along and stuff many things up while letting off a hell of a lot of steam (have you heard of a chap called Julius Malema?). Yet in between South Africans do some amazing things like win a few gold medals, big golf tournaments and cricket and rugby matches.

The South Africans I know get off their butts and do things to build our country rather than whinge from a position of comfort. We actively participate in projects that improve the lot of underprivileged communities. I would not trade for anything last Saturday in a hall full of 1500 African teachers singing at the top of their voices and demonstrating their commitment to improving education in their communities.

We have our challenges and surprises. The standard deviation of our emotions are set at MAX. You are never just a “little bit happy” or a “little bit sad”. At one moment you can be “off the scale” pissed off or frustrated or sad or worried or fearful or depressed. The next moment you are “off the scale” exhilarated, or enchanted, or inspired, or humbled by a kind deed, or surprised by something beautiful. It makes life interesting and worth living.

We also have passionate debates about the future of SA. Helped of course by red wine which you must taste again because it is getting better every year! Clem makes a great contribution to the debate as others like Moletsi Mbeki do. Russell Loubser the ex-head of the JSE made a feisty speech the other day that has whipped up emotions. Up to MAX on the emotions meter of the ANC Youth League whose campaign for nationalisation of the mines was attributed to people who have IQs equal to room temperature.

South African politics has always been volatile, we have opinions that could not be further apart and it evokes emotion on a massive scale. Interesting and stimulating for those that want to take it seriously but noise in the system to me. Fortunately we are rid of apartheid that would have definitely pushed us over the cliff. These are the birth pangs of a new and unpredictable democracy. So buckle up and enjoy the ride and contribute! That is the message I convey to South Africans.

Sad as it is, it is true that the South African diaspora has a largely negative influence on confidence in South Africa. It would not be a problem if their fretting about how long we will last before we go over the cliff was merely a reflection of their concern for us, their friends and family.

The problem is that it does impact foreign investment, which is important for economic growth. A person who is thinking of coming to visit or investing is often put off by listening wide-eyed to the stories of people who have gapped it.

As you know I host many foreign visitors and I have never, EVER, met anyone who has visited for the first time without being blown away by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people. It is not for nothing that South Africa has the highest ratio of repeat visitors of all long-haul destinations.

So, Jeff, how can I help you stop stressing out about us? Maybe best is that you get exposed to some articles and websites that give a more balanced and uplifting perspective of South Africa. So please don’t worry and if you get a chance, put in a good word for us.

All the best

PAUL HARRIS

Red Hot Chili Peppers…FREE STUFF

Hey there!

So ABC has been given two tickets to giveaway to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Johannesburg.

Yay for those of you that weren’t lucky enough to get any!

So if you want them do the following:

  1. Like ABC it’s me
  2. Post a picture, sob story…or pretty much anything to get yourself some attention
  3. Tag ABC it’s me in the post
  4. Hold your breath to see if you have won

 

It’s simple! So just do it…competition runs till the end of December 2012. So you have nothing but time get creative!

 

I was just impressed but Julius ‘Vuvezela Politics’ Malema

Being one of the many unlucky masses in Johannesburg that has to travel through the crawling Johannesburg traffic every morning I have resigned myself to use the time for a little education on current affairs. Every morning I listen to the John Robbie show on 702 Talk Radio, for about an hour or so and usually find myself with some food for thought or finding out something new.

This morning Julius Malema was interviewed on the show and instead of his usual radical ‘I WILL SHOUT EVERYTHING’ politics, he actually seemed to be pretty level headed. He answered most of the questions posed to him with such conviction I actually started to believe what he was saying. I honestly and truly began to think: “Oh yes I see your point, nationalisation sounds like a great idea! Yes President Zuma must have singled you out, poor Juju how have these ‘dictators’ been able to get away with treating you like this?”

Now I’m not what some people would term uneducated, I have a internationally recognised degree and am considered a specialist in my field… so how did I find myself believing this man who I know to be a complete fraud? How did I start to relate to someone who openly advocates violence, nationalisation and a score of other unearthly things while seated comfortably in his plush leather car while ‘his’ people starve on the other side of his darkened windows?

I read somewhere a few years ago that African politics is a popularity contest. For the first time I can truly identify with this statement as I fell for it! I was sucked in, I actually felt sorry for the very man who sings: “Dubula amabhunu baya raypha.”

I felt like a sucker, waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out shouting: “You’ve been Pun’kd!” …no Ashton.

So if I wasn’t on a TV show and I’m not a complete idiot how did this happen? How is it possible that for a second I believed in Malema’s political plight? So I got to thinking isn’t that what all politicians do? They sucker you in, make you believe in their cause and get you to vote. Because that’s what it is it’s THEIR cause not the people’s cause. Being a politician is the most selfish career one can get into, there are of course the exceptions; take Mandela for instance (I guess at points in his career this too can be argued against). Most politicians however are in it for THEMSELVES, especially in Africa where leaders are not always held accountable for their actions.

So when did WE let this happen? When did we get suckered in by politicians? When did we start believing the men and women who stand up and tell us what we want to hear and condemn them when they say things we don’t necessarily want to hear, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. I really wish Ashton would jump out right about now.

Is Oppikoppi still a music festival?

Surely I can’t be the only one who was disappointed by Oppikopi this year?

Over 20 000 people paid R600 for their tickets to attend the most fantastic festival in the dusty wastelands of Northam Limpopo. According to my calculators calculations that’s R12 000 0000 on tickets alone!

Surely out of that the organisers of the festival could pay a group of halfway decent sound engineers who know what a volume button looks like to handle the backline? Apparently this was an impossible task as band after band was made to sound worse than Miley Cirus minus auto-tune.

aKing, possibly one of the biggest bands in the country played ¾  of their set for their own enjoyment as even the fans standing right in front of the speakers battled to hear the words to their songs. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Dance You’re On Fire fan, but I do enjoy their music every now and then, even they were made to sound like they were singing from the bottom of an old rusty tin can, causing me to abandon my foot long cheese griller in utter desperation and in a final bid to save my ears drums from simply bursting to stop the pain.

The Kongos who drew a crowd big enough to rival even Seether were forced to stop playing one song into their set due to the sound being so bad…at least I presume it was due to that. I respect them for stopping and preforming their sound check once again because to most people if the sound is rubbish they presume the band is rubbish which in the cause of Oppikoppi Sweet Thing was not the case for the majority of the bands. Thankfully by the time the last bands played on the final night of Oppi the engineers (if that is infact their job description) had managed to iron out all the issues, congratulations on being able to deliver two sets where fans could actually enjoy the music.

I enjoyed you Oppi, I really did but I won’t be coming back next year if I’m paying to hear music and I would be better off listening to my favourite bands on my cell phone speakers.

Some dustbins would also be great…until we meet again.

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My advice: stick to your shade of lipstick, pink is most definitely your colour.

Yes, I see it okay. I see the irony in my writing this post but I could not let this one go.

Few things in this world make me angry and one of them is complete ignorance. I’m sure a few of you may have seen The Christowitz Report circulating on Facebook and most likely ruining your Friday afternoon. Now I will admit when the first post came out I was slightly amused if not taken aback by the use of every swear word in the book.

Then came week two, I felt like I was watching an accident happen in slow motion and I still haven’t been able to look away. Then came the ‘I hate nature post’, I read it bemused and later discussed it with a friend of mine, both of us while reading it had felt inclined to write a blog post in reply to the rant but had denied ourselves the satisfaction. Having read this week’s report I simply could not resist.

The report claims that the point is to make people laugh “That’s the f&*king point. To the few of you who still don’t get the point of all this… maybe private school was a waste of your parents’ money.” The thing is that it’s not, perhaps it started out as funny, even I can admit that and sure parts of it are still rather humorous but where the report fails is where it dips its toes into the realm of actual opinion.

The reports uninformed rant about ‘down-the-middle-ness’ in my opinion is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever had the misfortune of reading. A rant that stands against girls wearing pink lipstick, bad action movies and nature is standing for something? Perhaps you have a future in South African politics.

“Love some shit! Hate some shit! Make a decision and stick by it. Form an opinion and fight to defend it. Believe in something! Yank the double-sided dildo of mediocrity and indifference out of your ass and do something. Anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong or if you fail or succeed, just do it.” Encouraging people to stand for something, anything is just plain idiotic. There was once a man who hated Jews and loved killing them, he stuck by that decision and we are all aware he fought to defend it, he sure as hell believed in it. I presume it doesn’t really matter if he was right or wrong?

Sure we are encouraged to have opinions, but these opinions simply must be informed or they are harmful or just plain annoying. Pray tell, what is the use of an opinion on ‘Mall Dawdlers’? Is that not closer to mediocrity than anything else we may encounter in this world and I’m assured that an irrelevant opinion is just as useless and indifferent as no opinion at all.

Anyone with half an education surely must be fuming at this insult to their intelligence, sure we can ignore opinions and blogs such as the aforementioned, sure entering into a discussion about it is ironic but surely that is the point?

They say that you are only writing something worthwhile if people are complaining about it. In this case they are complaining because it’s ignorant, sensationalist rubbish and that, is not worth a dime.

My advice: stick to your shade of lipstick, pink is most definitely your colour.